Welcome Back (Leave Your Life at the Door)


So it begins.

We sit down at our desks on that first day of classes. Without so much as a “How do you do,” the professor gives us each a stack of paper the size of a cement block: a list that enumerates all of the things that will theoretically be accomplished in the next three months. We keep waiting for Beethoven’s Fifth to start playing in the background. Fate is knocking at our door in the form of reams of paper covered in small print.

First we see the course policies. These include the obvious, such as “don’t text in class” and “you have to take the tests if you want to pass this class.” But then there’s the more confusing stuff, like how many times you can be late before your “lates” are counted as “absences.” Such as three lates is one absence, and three absences means you fail the class. Or maybe it’s three absences which make on late, which means you get three more lates and therefore six more absences before you have to drop the course. Of maybe it’s five lates make two absences, and after the sixth late you get a note from the records office saying they’re going to write to your mother….The point is clear. Unless you are dying of the Bubonic Plague, come to class.

The course policies are followed by a list of required reading. In one class there are six textbooks (the first of which will arrive in the mail after the first assignment is due), all of them thick, and oozing footnotes. Yes, they all need to be read by the end of the semester. No, you can’t pass the class without doing so. In another class there are three textbooks. In yet another, there are two, plus the requirement of reading five plays by the end of the semester.

The Syllabi Dementors have come for our souls.

Dramatics aside, the first day back in classes at college is always a little overwhelming. There’s a degree of endurance that the students acquired in the previous semester that dissolves during Christmas break. Trotting from class to class is a lot more wearisome than they remember, so by the end of day one, we’re wondering how we’re going to survive the other 120-something that remain.

But we will. It will end before we know, and we’ll be just that much more prepared for the other adventures headed our way.


16 responses »

  1. The Syllabi Dementors want more than our souls! They want our money, too. I’m off to find several field notebooks (which, granted gives me an excuse to buy more notebooks!) and bug collecting stuff. Ah, well. Bring on the chocolate and prepare your “expecto protronums,” life is about to get dementored.

  2. I find that, although the professors stress the importance of reading the textbooks (and you do, diligently for the first few weeks), a lot of the time, you don’t even need that thick English textbook. My poor, poor empty pockets…

    Also, thumbs up for Harry Potter!

  3. I don’t feel sorry for you since you made fun of me for having to go back on January 3rd. Hope you enjoyed your three extra days…haha but really, it does suck, doesn’t it? Sucks much like a Dementor would…

  4. I laughed out loud at your version of the syllabi. You should see us as we write them! Trying to figure out a way to be clear….. impossible!

  5. Oh my soul, your version of the syllabi was perfect and cracked me up!! 🙂 Sometimes I wish we all just attended Hogwarts … the classes seem so much more enjoyable … but then again, wading through Homer sounds a wee bit more appealing than your life depending on memorizing countless incantations and spells 😛

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